Elon Musk Warns of Employee Sabotage at Tesla


Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent an email to all company employees Sunday night informing them of sabotage done to the firm by a disgruntled employee. A copy of the email was obtained by CNBC.

“I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations. This included making direct code changes to the Tesla Manufacturing Operating System under false usernames and exporting large amounts of highly sensitive Tesla data to unknown third parties,” Musk wrote.

“The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move.”

A small fire broke out at the electric car company’s plant in Fremont, California, also on Sunday. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed the fire was in an air filter on the body line and was extinguished immediately. No injuries or extensive damage to equipment was reported.

It had previously been reported that there were at least four fires in the paint shop of the Fremont factory since 2014. Tesla employees had blamed the fires on poor training for new employees as well as shoddy upkeep of facilities. They say, for example, that months before a fire in the paint shop in April, sprinkler heads were clogged with at least an inch-thick coating of paint. Filters that clean the air within the building were also coated they said.

The fire was serious enough to halt production for Tesla’s Model 3 for multiple shifts. The company is currently ramping up production to achieve its previously stated goal of production of 5,000 Model 3s per week by the end of June.

There does not appear to be any connection between those fires and the events of the last week but Musk urged employees to remain alert in the wake of “outside forces” aligned against the company.

“As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die,” Musk wrote in his email. “These include Wall Street short-sellers, who have already lost billions of dollars and stand to lose a lot more. Then there are the oil & gas companies, the wealthiest industry in the world — they don’t love the idea of Tesla advancing the progress of solar power & electric cars.”

“Please be extremely vigilant, particularly over the next few weeks as we ramp up the production rate to 5k/week. This is when outside forces have the strongest motivation to stop us,” he wrote.

Photo by JD Lasica via Flickr